Key Essential Elements of a Report

You must have created a report at least once, be it for your school assignment, college project, or weekly report at the office. What made report writing challenging for you at that time? While most people don’t have a problem with what to write in a report, they often get confused about the ‘how to write a report’ part.

In simple words, most people struggle to decide the right format of the report. However, that depends on the type of report you are creating. 

Let’s take a look at the most common types of reports.

  • Academic report
  • Project report
  • Sales/ marketing report
  • Weekly report
  • Annual report
  • Research report

While the elements change according to the report type, here are the key elements that every type of report format includes.

Key elements of a report

1. Title

It’s obvious. Just as you would introduce yourself by telling your name first, the first element of the report is its title. Keep the title clear and concise. It should exactly say what your report is all about. 

This isn’t a novel, so avoid being creative and adopt a straight-forward approach. You can include a subtitle if necessary.

2. Table of contents

Thinking about what to include in a table of contents even before writing a report? Well, you should keep it for the end. You can’t complete the table of contents page when you haven’t even written down the page numbers. 

However, if you have the report outline ready with titles, you can enter the titles of each section and subsection. Come back later when your report is ready and add the page numbers.

3. Summary

Again, just like the table of content, you won’t be able to write a summary before you complete the report. So keep the summary section empty till the end. 

Summary to report is like a moral to the story. It’s a blurb of what you have covered in the entire report. 

Wondering about what to include in the summary? The most important points to cover in summary are:-

  • The purpose of the report
  • The process
  • Resolution in brief

4. Introduction

Finally, you get to show your writing skills here! But don’t go overboard. Want a quick tip on how to write an introduction?

  • Talk about what the report is all about
  • The purpose of the report
  • Keep the introduction as one paragraph for the social media report or extend it to an entire page for an annual report

5. Body

This is the section where you will be sharing all the information including the process, the data, and findings, your claims, and arguments to support it. The body format changes for the different types of reports. Follow the initial outline you have set. 

Want a tip to make it easier and better? Use sections, subsections, and bullet points. Add visual cues and data in the form of images, graphs, and charts. You should try to make your report look more interesting. The visual cues will catch the reader’s attention and make your report more readable.

6. Conclusion

Now we move to the end of the report. Close your report with a well-crafted conclusion. Include in brief the major points you covered in a report. Also, don’t forget to mention the recommendation section.

7. Recommendations

Now, this section is optional and only relevant for business reports. It’s a smart move on your part to encourage the reader to take action. 

These actions, however, should be similar to the solutions mentioned in the report. 

What do you want the reader to do? Check out the particular product? Try a different approach? A call to action (what the reader should do after reading the report) will give your readers the final push to actually act on the solutions in your report.

8. Appendices

Time for some credits! Give credit to the sources you have referred for your report writing. This is important for research reports. List all the sources you used and, if possible, provide links to the previous documents on the same topics you came across during your research.

Report writing is a skill and one that is essential in academic as well as business settings. Although it may seem tedious, honing your writing skills and few easy tips can make the report writing process fun and easier. 

Are you already thinking about how to improve your writing skills? Check out some of the best online courses by industry experts. They not only share the tips to enhance your skills but also offer an insider’s perspectives.

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